President Joe Biden shared pizza and took selfies with troops on a visit to to Rzeszów, in Poland’s southeast.
A month after Russia’s invasion, Rzeszów, 80km from the Ukrainian border, has become a key reception centre for weary refugees. The city’s international airport has become a key hub for western humanitarian and military aid into Ukraine.
“Who brought the pizza?” Biden said with a smile. “Don’t stop eating because of me.” He added, “Well, if you’re starting to eat, I’m going to sit down and have something.”
“Thank you for what you’re doing,” he said. “Thank you, thank you, thank you. As your commander-in-chief, I mean that from the bottom of my heart.” Biden went onto say.
Turning his attention to the war in nearby Ukraine, Biden expressed his thanks to the paratroopers “for all you do” and called the US military “the finest fighting force in the history of the world.”
Biden heard directly from Polish President Andrzej Duda, who profusely thanked the U.S. leader for visiting his country and sending an unmistakable signal of unity.
“Your presence, Mr. President, here today in the city of Rzeszow is also a great sign of support to us,” Duda told Biden. “Support in terms of humanitarian assistance, which today is provided to the refugees from Ukraine but also it is provided to us, Poles, who are receiving guests because this is the name, we want to apply to them. We do not call them refugees. They’re our guests. Our brothers, our neighbors.”
In his own comments, Biden praised the Polish efforts in playing a leading role in the humanitarian response, just a day after the U.S. significantly stepped up its commitments. Biden pledged Thursday to accept 100,000 Ukrainian refugees and provide $1 billion in new humanitarian aid.
“What you and the humanitarian community are doing is of such an enormous consequence,” he said to Duda. “Brother, this is what we say we’re about. This is what we say that our obligations are, but you’re living it up. You’re doing it every day, all of you that are sitting at this table.”
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NY DAILY NEWS